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jscreen.org is an organization that provides genetic testing for Jews to help potential spouses better know if their children might have the potential to develop different diseases.

The issue is that jscreen gives you all the information. Is this halachically permissible?

  • I clicked the link and It got me to the home page. I'm uncertain where to navigate from there to get a sense of what you mean by "gives you all the information" and why you suspect this is a halachic problem. Can you summarize what the concern is? – DanF Apr 11 '16 at 18:54
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    Why is the question? Why wouldn't this be permissible? – Double AA Apr 11 '16 at 19:02
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    OK, what's the problem? How is this different than your doctor sending you for a blood test for just cholesterol, but the lab tests for everything including triglic., enzymes, blood cell counts, and all that other stuff occupying a 3 page lab report? – DanF Apr 11 '16 at 19:06
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    I've often heard in the name of R' Moshe Feinstein זצ”ל that not only was it muttar to test for disease carriage for Tay-Sachs (et cetera) but halachically advisable to do so. – Noach MiFrankfurt Apr 11 '16 at 19:13
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    As opposed to Dor Yesharim? "We believe, and the system's resounding global success supports, that in keeping all testing results confidential we eliminate any potential stigmatization of individuals and families." doryeshorim.org/our-philosophy – Shokhet Apr 11 '16 at 19:14
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I'm a student at YU and we were recently encouraged by our Roshei Yeshiva, including Rabbi Kenneth Brander, to undergo screening when JScreen came to our school. I an my fellow students felt very comfortable with JScreen's approach, credibility, and follow-up. Here is what he wrote:

Dear Students, We believe that all students should undergo genetic testing before marriage, preferably before dating or entering into a serious relationship. Testing gives you the knowledge to make informed decisions which can diminish pain and suffering within our community. YU Roshei Yeshiva encourage students to get tested and to speak to a trained genetic counselor and a knowledgeable halachic authority about any questions they may have.

Please sign up

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Kenneth Brander

  • Hello user12444, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for your first answer! If you haven’t done so already, you should take a look at the tour. Please consider registering your account, to enable more site features, including voting. I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us. – mbloch Apr 12 '16 at 17:30
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My Orthodox Rabbi recommended JScreen as they work with a network of reputable Rabbis from around the country. He felt strongly that I should receive the results and that their is no stigmatization regarding shidduchim.

  • Ayelet, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your first answer! If you haven’t done so already, you should take a look at the tour. Please consider registering your account, to enable more site features, including voting. I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us. – mbloch Apr 12 '16 at 16:19
  • This being said, an anonymous recommendation from a new user is not the strongest. Would you consider asking your rabbi if he would agree to be named? Welcome again and happy to have you here. – mbloch Apr 12 '16 at 16:20
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Yoatzot indeed says that

Prenatal testing for genetic or birth defects involves a number of halachic issues. With most of the available technology, the main concern is not with the procedures themselves - blood tests and ultrasounds - but with what might be done with the results.

When testing is done prior to marriage, there is a concern that it could lead to the dissolution of an otherwise appropriate union. Furthermore, misconceptions about the significance of carrier status might lead to difficulty finding a match even if there is no medical reason to fear the birth of an affected child.

[...]

On the other hand, if the prenatal test will lead to an intervention that would be beneficial to the health of the fetus, then there is reason to permit it.

They list jscreen as one of the organizations they refer people to - but see the others as well who likely have better halachic referrals. I couldn't find halachic advisors on jscreen's site. Note also Dor Yeshorim which is mentioned positively here and here as testing according to R Moshe Feinstein's psak.

You might also want to ask Yoatzot directly as they have halachic advisors and know the topic

  • I find this whole subject puzzling. The only reason seems to be that maybe you are "destroying" your shidduch or zivug. People "drop" a shidduch for much less reasons. Although the dor yeshorim dont tell you what is wrong, you can be quite sure that if a shidduch is refused you and your potential spouse are both carriers of some sort. – newcomer Apr 12 '16 at 16:53
  • @newcomer I agree. See here for another relevant answer with sources showing genetic testing for Ashkenazim is a good idea – mbloch Apr 12 '16 at 16:57
  • I understand that gerer chasidim do not test. What we are really looking for is why it is not a good idea. My wife's sister and husband are carriers and lost a child to Tay-Sachs. That is before testing existed. Maybe that is why I am biased. There is also the problem if they are allowed to now live together. They do. – newcomer Apr 12 '16 at 18:10

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